Landgraf & Ventnor Planning Board Ignore Local Ordinance for Plaza Plan

Lance Landgraf Ventnor Plaza Planning Board Atlantic County
Selective Enforcement of Local Law.

We can assume Commissioner Lance Landgraf knows Planning and Zoning law in Ventnor. We can also assume Landgraf gets excellent advice from Planning Board Solicitor (Atty) Leo Manos. He’s the best. Manos does everything by the book.

In regards to current Ventnor Plaza re-development plans, Landgraf can ignore recommendations from board solicitor Manos if he so chooses.

Manos: I think part of the problem is, we heard the application. We approved it. Now we’re under a timetable that we have to adopt the resolution within 30 days. So if we don’t do that, we’re going to……… the applicant going to have an issue. And what happened with the notices is, and I talked to the chairman and a couple other board members about it…. we did adopt the resolution. 

On Dec. 6, Landgraf sent the following email to an impacted homeowner. Commissioner Landgraf fully aware of critical, non-compliant vote regarding Ventnor Plaza. Landgraf pretty much tells resident: ‘too bad’.

Click to Enlarge.

Embarrassing Screw-up by Ventnor Planning Board.

Listen: Public Comment Ventnor Planning Board Error.

Only 11 of 33 legally required notices were sent. Of those 11 sent, most were not actual homes with a family inside. This looks really bad for Ventnor City Hall leadership.

Virtually no family that lives within 200 ft of Ventnor Plaza were notified as required by Ventnor ordinance / law.

So who DID get notified? Hmmm. Take a look.

Atlantic City ElectricVentnor FirehouseCity of Ventnor
ComcastAtlantic County Planning BoardSouth Jersey Gas
ACUAAtlantic County Board CommissionersWellington Plaza
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

All Ventnor residents encouraged to attend Jan 11 Planning Board meeting and JAN 12 Commission meeting. Even if this project won’t affect you directly. All Ventnor neighborhoods need to protect themselves against unlawful planning and zoning tactics. Sometimes from their own city leadership it seems. Ventnor Advisory Committee 2023

Atlantic County Executive Denny Levinson made aware of embarrassing situation. Atlantic County is involved with this issue. They control Wellington Ave.

VENTNOR CITY ORDINANCE https://ecode360.com/8289100

Notice-requirements-for-hearing

This can also happen to those on a beach block or bay front. Even business district owners are at increase risk of municipal monkey business. Ventnor taxpayers should demand greater transparency in their city government. Turn on the video cameras. Let everyone participate in public meetings using Zoom or YouTube. Share and upload all relevant documents, blueprints and renderings. Stop speaking in code. Treat taxpayers with respect. That includes 2nd homeowners. Ventnor Advisory Committee 2023

Ventnor’s Mayor Beth Holtzman, Commissioner Lance Landgraf and Commissioner Tim Kriebel. All three are directly involved with the Ventnor Planning Board making for a potential conflict of interest.

A customary traffic safety report has not been released to the public.

Planning Board Chairman Jay Cooke in reference to firehouse at Little Rock & Wellington Ave; It’s a problem intersection.

Cooke: Traffic plans, we don’t have them. We don’t know what’s going on, on that roadway.

Public Comment from Victoria Ave residents: He (Ventnor Plaza developer) blamed the city. This is what the city wanted.

Ventnor Plaza developer has 15 acres to play with. Why is city forcing developer to build a two lane road, with no safety buffer or traffic study, in our Victoria Ave backyards, with no public comment?

Ventnor Planning Board meetings are held inside Ventnor City Hall.
6201 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor, NJ.
2nd Wednesday of each month
4th Monday of each month

6:30pm.

Jay CookeChairman
Roman ZabihachVice Chairman
Tom HalpinFire Official
Lance LandgrafCommissioner, Construction/Code Enforcement/ Public Works
Tim Kriebel Mayor’s Designee – Commissioner Public Safety

Mayor Beth Holtzman also gets to pick board members for Ventnor’s Board of Education and Ventnor’s Planning / Zoning Board.

Mr. Manos, You’re here to represent the citizens. We didn’t get our right to speak. We never got certified letters about the meeting. Maybe you guys would have withheld vote. You should send out those letters and give us a chance to be heard. It seems like a pretty big error when 33 letters are supposed to go out and only 11 letters go out.

6 thoughts on “Landgraf & Ventnor Planning Board Ignore Local Ordinance for Plaza Plan”

  1. I personally hope this development proceeds without much aggravation for any of the three parties involved, Ventnor, the residents or the developer. And I can personally tell you that residents can go to the extremes to try and squash a development, including straight out lying to get what they want. It’s happened to me several times. I’ve coined a phrase and it goes like this, “I’m all for development, as long as it happens somewhere else.”

    Trust me, if the residents take that stance then their meeting on January 11th will be nothing but a bitch session, which the City will eventually shut down and ignore anything positive that may have come from it.

    They’ll build their fence believing the residents are unreasonable and be ready to defend their position, come hell or high water with our hard earned tax dollars! Not their own money. And lets not forget, they don’t like having their authority challenged.

    So, maybe it’s time for their solicitor to step in, stop doing their bidding and see if cooler heads can prevail. Because being involved in issues like this myself before, I don’t believe the assessment of the validity of the meeting is accurate. I think they are already posturing and bullying, which is not a good thing, but city officials use this tactic all too often.

    Lets look at this situation as a construction project. The inspector shows up and examines the first floor stud walls and says they look good to him. But then you find out that he never showed up and did a footing inspection first. And it turns out after further investigation that the footing is subpar and has cracks in it and is not capable of sustaining the rest of the structure. Do you still have the confidence to continue to build on it? I would hope not.

    Well that is what Ventnor is trying to pitch here. There is a due process and no matter how much they huff and puff, it doesn’t legally change that.

    So Mr. Manos, instead of supporting a bad position and what could become a long and lengthy legal battle using our tax dollars, please interject and bring all parties to reason.
    Because if this process cannot be brought to an agreeable compromise, then it will be a lose, lose, lose for all three parties.

    The residents will get none of their concerns addressed and they’ll have to spend their money to litigate. The City will spend our hard earned tax dollars defending a losing position and the developer will not be able to continue and make this property better and profitable.

    Leadership should lead by example. I’m not saying it does these days, but big boys put their big boy pants on. If you make a mistake, own it and rectify it to the best of your ability. Don’t try to bully the side that did nothing wrong into buying it.

    All three sides should try and be reasonable and compromise or we’ll be reading about this lawsuit for several years in the DBB and in the Press. Trust me, we will!

  2. All that property owners ever want is transparency and unfortunately it appears this has not been clearly followed. Why not correct it and allow the affected residents to be heard?

    I am hoping that just maybe the Board will consider making future meetings like this available for people to call in and attend by zoom or by phone.

    So many seashore property owners are secondary residents do live out of town and attending a local mid week meeting often becomes impossible. That system was one of the only good things that did come out of COVID but I do believe that has stopped.

    Richard Gober

    1. Seems resending, renewing the debate and some live-virtual meeting combo to try and arrive at some alignment/agreement makes the most sense to all parties – agree with both Frankie and Richard’s comments.

  3. I’ve been to a couple meetings, one most recent this past November regarding a duplex on Dorset Ave.

    The body language, manner and attitude of Board Chair, Jay Cooke, was astonishing.

    He basically had his right hand holding his head up. Was extremely dismissive toward applicant and people who spoke in support of it.

    In his closing, he actually said if there was ever an application that was to be denied, it was this one.

    I was blown away at that line as a board member.

  4. I’m a resident on Victoria Ave. Our concerns are real and valid. Mr Greco talks about neighbors grading their yards so the water runs off. So, now we have to spend money to keep Plaza run-off water from coming across the street into our properties?

    Stop the clock and start over properly.

    I’m few feet beyond the 200 ft mark. If my neighbors received letters, I too would have known about the meeting.

    The meeting Wednesday is called informal, that is unacceptable. Making light of our concerns, that is unacceptable.

    I am on my porch all year long mostly all night long. In the summer our street is used as the way in and way out to avoid using Dorset Avenue and wellington Ave. Now with restaurants liquor etc will that not bring more traffic and possibly drunk drivers through our neighborhood. Now the buffer trees Mr Greco speaks about.

    Some of us actually have a view of different areas, my view is the casino in Brigantine which for 26 years I have sat on my porch and gazed at. But I can also look out my window down Wellington and know right away if I’m going to work on mornings of storms.

    We have many other concerns. Like the initial illegal move of this whole mess, the JAN 11 meeting is a farce. We were also not notified back in 2019 when this all started.

    The very 1st we are hearing about it was after the October 2022 meeting.

    We know the clock can’t go back to 2019 however to go back a few months especially since it was only days after when we notified the city of the mistake should not be difficult to do for taxpayers who have lived on Victoria Avenue for upwards of 26 to more then 30 years .

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